You’ve probably already read about it, but on Saturday I broke my left arm. Again. It happened 18 miles into the desert and hours from a hospital. But, you know what? It wasn’t a big deal. A big part of that was because I had Sean with me. Now that I’m all fixed, here’s the story.
The plan was to spend two nights camping at Crab Flats near Big Bear, which is about 5 miles down a winding dirt road and serves as an OHV staging area for miles and miles and miles of more dirt roads and trails. We’d ride in on Friday after work, wake up early on Saturday, ride all day, then sleep it off under the stars. We brought a KTM 450 EXC, a Yamaha WR250R and a Ural sidecar. I rode into the campsite on the Triumph Tiger 800 XC. Great weekend, right? It was, ’til I ruined it.
It’d all been going so well. A morning on the WR and I was feeling as confident as I’ve ever been on the dirt. Then, after Sean repaired a pinch flat on the Ural, I figured I’d have a go on that. That confidence carried over, complete with memories of the two days I’d spent riding a Ural on the dirt two years ago. Turns out that was too much confidence and too long ago to remember how to ride a sidecar. Entered a downhill right hander all wrong and just couldn’t catch it. Tried to save it, failed, then had to chose between hitting a log or a barbwire fence. Chose both.
Hey guys, I don’t think this is broken!
Rolled over, stood up. Not good, sat down. Dizzy, left arm smarted something awful. Fuck. That’s when Sean took charge. He dragged the crippled sidecar a 1/4 mile down the road to a safe pull off, hitched a ride back on the KTM, then threw me on the back of the WR for the 18-mile ride back to camp. Four water crossings, an awful lot of man-on-man spooning and innumerable front end slides (the WR doesn’t like being aired down, two up) and I was in a camp chair, in the shade, drinking Newcastle. While Sean did the same ride all over again to grab the wallet and house keys I’d forgotten in the Ural’s trunk.
See? Definitely not broken.
What to do now? I don’t have health insurance and do have bad memories of my last ER visit when I got charged a Ural sidecar’s worth of greenbacks to lie strapped to a gurney, naked, in a hallway for five hours. At this point, I was still trying to convince everyone my arm wasn’t really broken too. So, we decided to go to Sean’s dad’s office in Pasadena for x-rays to figure out what was really wrong.
Two hours, two up on a Triumph Tiger at 100mph later, it turned out my arm was broken. Very broken. Damnit. The x-rays revealed a very nasty and very complete snap to my radius and a possible lateral fracture too. The thinking was, this meant more surgery, old metal out, new metal in and a very, very large bill. Sean and I headed to County, planning to beg poverty, while Sean’s dad made some phone calls. Bad Google Maps directions had us stopped at a wrong turn when Doctor Smith called back. No need for the ER, a friend of his would see me on Monday and we’d take it from there. Back to Sean’s place via a CVS and I gave myself a homemade splint (yay, Boyscouts) and started on a homemade painkiller concoction. Namely weed and booze.
I have the Boyscouts to thank for making me the man I am today.
36 hours later and I’m sitting in a room at an orthopedic surgeon’s in Pasadena while the nurse listens to my story about riding out on a dirt bike and bandaging myself up and tells me she loves me. Sean’s Dad’s friend puts me in a medievel torture device, hangs a lead weight off my arm, waits 10 minutes, then snaps my wrist back in place. Fuck, that hurt. More X-rays confirm it’s set, cast goes on and I get kicked out the door. No charge. Six weeks and I’ll be good as new. It’s good to have good friends.